Now women in Saudi Arabia can wear bikinis when visiting the beach, especially near the Jeddah City area. Women and men can also enjoy the waves together, without any separation.
This scene can occur after Saudi Arabia which is known to be very conservative is now gradually more modern and open. The reduction of some strict social structures is due to modernization and freedom of expression.
One Saudi Arabian citizen, Asma, 32, can now spend a day at Pure Beach near Jeddah with her boyfriend. He can even dance with his partner on the white sand on the shores of the Red Sea, accompanied by music booming from loudspeakers.
Even so, he had to pay 300 Saudi riyals or around IDR 1.1 million (assuming IDR 3,772/riyal) in order to enter Pure Beach near Jeddah to enjoy music and dance.
"I'm happy that I can now come to a nearby beach to enjoy my time. It's the epitome of fun... it's our dream to come here and spend a wonderful weekend," she told AFP , wearing a blue dress over her swimsuit. .
"Life is normal (in Saudi Arabia)," Asma added. "Before that wasn't normal."
You can also see beachgoers swimming in the turquoise waters and women wearing bikinis. Some of them smoke shisha. As the sun goes down, performers dance to Western music on stage, with couples embracing nearby.
In many countries, this is a common sight. But it is different for Saudi Arabia, which hosts Islam's holiest sites and supports Wahhabism or a rigid form of religion.
In the past, the Islamic empire strictly regulated many things, to the issue of privacy such as individual clothing, especially for women. Even playing music in public places was banned until 2017 and beaches are usually still separated between men and women.
Women were also only allowed to drive around 2018. In addition, it was only two years ago that unmarried foreign couples were also allowed to share hotel rooms. However, the national alcohol ban still applies.
The country underwent changes under the crown prince and de facto ruler , Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who came to power in 2017. But 'MBS' has also launched a crackdown on dissent, detaining women's rights activists, clerics and journalists.
A US intelligence report accused him of approving the brutal 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The UN special rapporteur cited the involvement of King Salman's son.
The Gulf kingdom's social reforms were driven by a desire to diversify its oil-dependent economy, including by stimulating tourism and domestic spending. Only business travelers and Muslim pilgrims can visit until 2019, when Saudi Arabia starts offering tourist visas.
Bilal Saudi, head of events at King Abdullah Economic City, said the beach targeted "local visitors and (foreign) tourists". This October, Saudi Arabia also held a special tour event Riyad Season which even invited western singer Pitbull to perform.